Beijing's Best Barbecue

You’d think our summer diets would lean more towards chilled noodles and frozen yoghurt. Alas, we are a complex species and would rather swarm around open flames, gripping spiced wings and saucy ribs. So pack the wet wipes and gather up some friends – we’ve got some roasters to explore.

Da Huaishu (大槐树烤肉馆)

The smell of charred flesh drives locals in their dozens to the decade-old tabletop terracotta briquette pits of Da Huaishu. Famed for its platters of marinated meats, the cheap a la carte menu (in Mandarin) tempts multiple orders of marinated beef (牛肉; 13RMB), butterflied chicken gizzards (鸡胗; 15RMB), pork belly slices (五花肉; 13RMB) and beef tongue (牛舌; 15RMB). Order a side of qie ni (茄泥), a boiled mash of cold eggplant, sesame sauce and garlic, which literally translates as ‘eggplant mud’. It looks like it sounds, but is an addictively delicious addition.

English address
Northeast intersection of the crossroads at Dongcheng District Museum of Art, 23 Dong Jie, Dongcheng district
Chinese address

Roast Leg of Mutton (碳花烤羊腿)

Beijing used to have loads of these DIY joints, but the city’s remodelling efforts have sadly left only a few in their wake. Roast Leg of Mutton staff sporting welding gloves carry molten-hot metal boxes packed with glowing briquettes (the heat is intense!) to your table, then return with a partially cooked, speared leg of mutton (38RMB per jin), which you’re expected to roast. You’ll need to put some muscle into carving with the special-handled utensils. Our advice: let the meat crisp on the grill below if you want it extra tasty. Then cool down with a mini keg of Yanjing beer (38RMB for two litres) as you sit in the bustling hutong outside. Bring a group and tick this one off your bucket list.

English address
63 Beixinqiao San Tiao, (near the Lama Temple), Dongcheng district
Chinese address

Hao Ku (蚝酷)

Something of an ugly duckling, this dingy spot may look a little on the messy side, but Hao Ku holds a likeable secret. Barbecued oysters are the speciality here – and plenty of them. A crude, charcoal-lit iron grill in the back is fired up to roast oysters and scallops from Zhanjiang, each cooked on the half shell (58RMB per dozen), as well as a bucketload of shrimp (28RMB for four). You can order them without seasoning, but we recommend going for the minced garlic on everything. Also available are roast chicken wings (56RMB for 20) in original, slightly spicy and really spicy flavour – although there’s more sweet than heat. Stick to the seafood and you’ll be thankful.

English address
A82 Dongsisitiao, Dongcheng district,
Chinese address